Kenya begin World Cup quest in Lobatse

Botswana Under-20 coach Jacquelin Gabinelwe has said she isn’t bothered by her side’s inferior record against Kenya and will be going for an outright win when the two teams clash Friday evening in a 2018 Fifa U-20 World Cup qualifier in Lobatse.

The match kicks off at 5pm Kenyan time at the 20,000-seater Lobatse Sports Complex some 70km from the capital Gaborone.

“On paper Kenya are the better team because I am told they have players in this junior side who played at the Africa Cup of Nations last year,” Gabinelwe, a former International defender told Nation Sport on phone from Lobatse on Thursday, ahead of the preliminary round, first leg fixture.

Harambee Starlets defeated Botswana 3-2 on aggregate two years ago in a 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Also, Harambee Starlets qualified for last year’s Africa Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

She added: “Most of my players are from high school but we are not intimidated. We have a clear mind on how to approach this problem.”

The Botswana Football Association has announced free entrance for spectators at the stadium.

Kenya quietly flew out of Nairobi on Wednesday for the fixture with no word to the media or Kenyan public for that matter. Efforts by this newspaper to get in touch with the Kenya coach Caroline Achieng’ proved futile as the Football Kenya Federation declined to give contacts of the team officials in Lobatse.

The Kenyans, though, will fancy their chances considering the firepower in the team.

Captain Corazone Aquino and custodian Lillian Awuor are the most experienced players in the side having played for the senior team in last year’s Africa Women’s Nations Cup.

Kenya and Botswana are among 19 nations gunning for one of the three slots available for Africa in next year’s World Cup in France.

The aggregate winner of this tie will face Ethiopia in the first round in September.

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